Tomato, pesto, french lentil tart
This is the 900th post to come at you from The Ordinary. Nine hundred recipes and songs, 900 confused and meaningless meandering rambling essays. It’s crazy, I tell you. Crazy. It’s a crazy amount of words. The other night, whilst half-awake, I found myself composing an Ordinary post in my head, and I realized that I hadn’t done it in a while. And I realized that I missed it. I’ve always had words running through my head–does everybody? And I’ve always arranged them into phrases, and imagined them written. When I was little, I narrated my life in the third person. And then maybe everything was silent for a while. I can’t remember. Maybe I thought in pictures instead, and music, maybe I thought about movie scenes. But when I started writing posts from The Ordinary, when I really started writing essays, and not just providing tepid descriptions of food I’d cooked, I started to write in my head again. I was always thinking of things I could write about. Everything I saw or watched or heard or read seemed to filter itself into an Ordinary post. The world became reorganized in this way, reimagined, seen through Ordinary eyes. Everything seemed worth talking about. And then it was the novel, it took over my thoughts, and the characters spoke to each other in my head, and that was the best feeling of all. And then I fell out of the habit, and suddenly nothing seemed worth talking about, even everything I’d already written. The more you do something, the more you do something, and I think that’s good, and important to remember. If you’re feeling listless and detached, if you’re feeling whybotherish, start to do something you once enjoyed: draw, make music, cook, write. It might be hard at first, it might not come out like you’d planned, but the more you do it, the better it will feel, the more you’ll think about it when you’re not thinking about it, the more you’ll come back to it as your natural resting place. The very act of doing it will give it meaning and value, if you persevere. And that’s where I am now, coming out of the hazy lazy listless summer slump to sharpen my thoughts again, to point them in a certain direction and then follow wherever they lead. I’ll take all the splinters of words and images that have slept in my head all summer, and string them together, so that the words chasing each other around my head in the middle of the night become worth writing down in the morning, so that they become worth sharing.
Lentil, tomato and pesto tart
In keeping with this august benchmark in Ordinary history, I’ll tell you about this very Ordinaryish tart. I love lentils! Especially French lentils! And I love tarts! And I love all of the abundant produce of summer. The pesto I made from basil from our yard and from the CSA we belong to. The tomatoes are from our yard (and they’re wonderful!) Everything was nice together, I think. Fresh, but earthy and satisfying. The crust is yeasted and has a little chickpea flour in for flavor, the pesto is made with pistachios, almonds and sharp cheddar. The lentils are flavored with a little cinnamon, cardamom, coriander and smoked paprika. Lovely spices for lentils.
Here’s 9th and Hennepin, by Tom Waits, because it’s been in my head all morning, and because it’s one of the best collections of words I’ve ever heard.
1 t yeast
1 t sugar
1/2 cup warm water
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup besan (chickpea flour)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 t salt
lots of black pepper
In a large bowl combine the yeast, sugar and 1/2 cup warm water for about ten minutes, till nice and frothy.
Add the flours, salt, pepper and olive oil. Mix together. Add just enough water so that you can form it into a workable dough. You might not have to add any. Knead for about 4 or 5 minutes. Put a drop of olive oil in a bowl, roll the dough around in it, cover with a damp cloth, and leave in a warm place for a few hours.
1 T olive oil
2 bay leaves
1 t garlic, minced
1 small shallot, minced
1/2 t each cinnamon, cardamom, coriander and smoked paprika
1 cup french lentils or a blend of french lentils and green lentils
1 T butter
1 t balsamic vinegar
salt and freshly ground pepper
In a medium-sized pot over medium heat warm the olive oil. Add the bay leaves, garlic and shallot. Cook for a few minutes until the garlic and shallot start to brown, stirring frequently. Add the spices, and then immediately add the lentils. Stir till they’re well-coated. Add enough water to cover everything by about two inches. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 20 – 30 minutes, until the lentils are soft but still have a bit of texture. You don’t want them mushy. Most of the water should be gone, but if it isn’t, pour it off and reserve as broth. Stir in butter, balsamic, salt and pepper.
2 cups fresh basil leaves, washed and trimmed
1/4 cup pistachios
1/4 cup almonds
1 plump clove roasted or toasted garlic
1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar
1 t vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and lots of freshly ground pepper
Combine everything but olive oil in a food processor or blender. With the motor running, pour the olive oil in a thin stream. When everything is smooth and blended, add enough water to make it even smoother and just as thin as you like it. Season with salt and pepper
TO ASSEMBLE TART
1 1/2 cup lentils (+/-)
1 cup pesto
About 4 oz. thinly sliced fresh mozzarella, smoked mozzarella, or a combination of both
2 or 3 thinly sliced tomatoes
Coat a cake pan or small baking tray with olive oil. Press the dough into the tray and build up the sides to make a crust.
Preheat the oven to 425, and let the dough rest while it heats. Pre-bake the dough for about five or ten minutes until it looses it’s shine and starts to turn slightly golden.
Mix the pesto with the egg, and spread it over the crust. Spread the lentils over the pesto. Spread the tomatoes over the pesto, and layer the cheese over that. Bake for fifteen or twenty minutes, till everything is bubbly and golden brown. Let cool and set for a few minutes, slice, and serve.